A portrait about Congsi Hou
– Interview from the 4’th of June 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia –
1. When was the last time you felt happiness from the bottom of the heart?
I think I was quite happy a few days ago when I was in China with my parents. It has been almost one year since I have seen them the last time. I am from a city in the southwest part of China called Xi’an, which is famous for food. So, I was really happy to be there.
2. What does it mean to you to live an intense life?
I think for me to live an intense life probably means that you are chasing something that you are not necessarily enjoying. People sometimes think that they need more money or properties and they work so hard for that, but it’s not those things that make them happy. I think if you are influenced by the society, instead of thinking about what you actually want for yourself, then you might chase the wrong goals and then it can be quite intense.
3. Do you believe in spiritual human beings?
I think I have never really thought about spirituality and I don’t believe in any religion. I believe in science. Believe is probably the wrong word, but I think we do have tools to test or figure out things, and if we couldn’t, we just say we don’t know yet. I personally think it’s not a very wise way to picture those things, which we don’t know yet, in a figure. If you don’t know then you don’t know and that’s also ok. But it doesn’t mean we need a picture behind, which is spiritual. It’s just something we don’t know.
4. Do you believe in anything?
I wouldn’t use the word believe in anything. I believe that science is a tool that we can use to figure many things out, but that’s not my believe. I just trust science. I believe we should have good intention, trust people, be honest and not to hurt other people on purpose. I want to try me best to practice these things.
5. Imagine, the last day of your life has come and there is nobody who has any information about you and your life. All the information has mysteriously been deleted. If I would give you an empty sheet of paper and you could leave a message with the three most important wisdoms of your life, which three wisdoms would you write down?
Honesty. Read. Experience
6. What’s your source of power and motivation for your daily life?
I love my job. I am quite happy for what I am doing and it’s contributing for the society. I am an architect by training and I specialize in health care. At the moment, I work for an architect office in Berlin and they focus on designing hospitals and nursery homes. The topic is super complicated but also very interesting.
7. How will the world be a different place because of what you have contributed?
I have been working on this topic – building hospitals – for a couples of years and I think it’s very important, because when we are in worse situations and we have to go to a hospital, we need more care from our environment.
We are making the environment of our hospitals friendlier and familiar. Just step by step, because there are so many regulations. But I see the change is happening. For example, the hospitals are becoming more colorful. We are paying more attention not only in patient rooms, also in communal area of hospitals. So, people can actually have a rather decent experience there. I am happy that this contribution can make the patients’ time easier.
8. What does it mean to you to live in liberty?
I think to live in liberty means that everyone has the right to choose his/her own way to live the life, as long as it does no harm to other people or the society. I also think this requires that we all contribute to the society with our own ability. To pay your tax, try to reduce your consumption, maybe have a job that does some good, respect other people’s choice, and only with those conditions, it is then meaningful to talk about “live in liberty”.
9. Do you have dream for life?
I am 31 years old and I don’t know how my personal life is going to unfold, but if I ever had the opportunity, I would work for a couple more years in my current job and then I would go to a small and less developed country to help building a hospital. That’s a dream.
10. When you have to make decisions do you prefer following your heart or your head?
I think it depends on the decisions. Making a decision for my career that would be more rational, but if I would make a decision in my personal life, like whether to choose this guy or that guy as boyfriend then I think it’s the moment to following your heart. It all depends on the questions.
11. What will happen to society, politics and daily life when nonconscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know our self? *
Personally, I think what has lead to all the craziness nowadays are not so much linked to the technology itself.
I don’t think “non-conscious” algorithms can know us better than ourselves – of course we have big data and it can do many things, yet it still relies on us feeding new data to it and how we choose to process them. It might have a certain influence on your daily life, for example, Google or Facebook might be giving you selected information, but if you are aware, you are still able to avoid them up to a quite high level and also to get information from different sources to balance your own input bias. I think what worries me the most, is still what people do with these data with us. Bad or greedy intention from real human beings are what scares me more than the current technology.
However, I do think once the current “non-consciousness” reach to consciousness, a lot of changes will definitely happen and it is a topic worthy a lot of attention and discussion, as we are heading to that direction, but that’s another question.
12. What’s more valuable: intelligence or consciousness? *
I think intelligent is more important by far, because it’s very difficult to reach to a full level of consciousness. Of course, you can take drugs or do mediation to achieve a broader sense of consciousness, but in daily life I think the regular, normal consciousness is pretty much build on the knowledge you have, and again that knowledge would require you to have the ability to learn things. For this reason, I think intelligence is important.
13. If an artist would draw a picture about your life, what animal would he choose as a symbol for you? What would the landscape around you look like in the drawing? What kind of weather would it be there?
I want to be a sheep dog, so I could live together with many other animals. The environment would be mountains not far from the ocean. There would be a sunny sky but not to high temperatures.
Additional information: 31 years old, architect in health care, currently living in Berlin, born in Xi’an, China//9
* questions by Yuval Noah Harari